Vegvisir - the Viking Compass

artistic representation of norse symbol vegvisir way finder

The Vegvisir, also known as the runic compass, or the Viking compass, is formed from a collection of eight Viking rune staves and is associated with being a symbol of guidance and protection. Without doubt, Vegvisir is one of the most well-known of all Nordic symbols. It translates from Icelandic to English as “That which shows the way” and is thought to be described in just one test, the Icelandic spell collection manuscript known as the Huld manuscript. There is only a single sentence describing the Vegvisir symbol in this text and reads, “If this sing is carried, one will never lose one’s way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known”.

The Huld manuscript is a mysterious text, written sometime during the 19th century, approximately eight centuries after the Viking age. A portion of it is thought to have been derived from pre-Christian Norse faith, but the majority of it is heavily influenced by Christianity and magic practices originating from Southern Europe. Despite how recognisable this symbol is, it is a stretch to classify it as a definite Viking symbol, as there is no proof that it was known of or used during the Viking era.